Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Dear Sugar: Talking to Children About the "Birds and the Bees"
I know one thing many parents (whether they adopted or not) struggle with is talking to their children about "the birds and the bees." Why? Maybe we feel it's someone else's job. Or we didn't have the best sex education. Or we're uncertain. Embarrassed.
Here's what you need to know:
1: If a kid is old enough to ask, he/she is old enough to know.
2: Even if a kid doesn't ask, the kid HAS thought about some of these things.
3: Talking to kids who were adopted about their bodies, how babies are made, etc. is important for them to fully understand adoption.
4: You want your child to get accurate information with your moral compass (because that's what parents do) applied.
5: Talking to children about important topics is what all parents, but especially parents-by-adoption, should do. Hard conversations need to happen in the safety and security of the home, where trust and love are built and maintained.
6: Because you are your child's first and best teacher.
7: Because talking about bodies is also an opportunity to talk about "no means no," consent, appropriate and inappropriate touch, etc. Also, discuss fitness, diet, mental health, etc. Really, "the birds and the bees" talk is really a BODY and health talk.
In April, we were matched with our daughter's expectant parents. With each ultrasound picture we saw and each visit we had, my two oldest children had increasing questions about bodies and how babies are made and are born. They had good questions: how does a baby GET into a mommy? What is a c-section? Does a baby cry when it is born? How old do you have to be to have a baby? Why are some babies breastfed?
Below are some resources (toys, videos, books) you can use to talk to your young-ish child. Click on the image to learn more. We have found these to be incredibly helpful. And I know you have some Amazon gift cards burning in your pocket---so get to shoppin' and talking to your children about this important topic:
A few tips:
1: Use correct terminology. Cute names for body parts may be easier on your ears, but they can be confusing, unspecific, and cause issues if a child is having a health concern or has been approached by a sexual predator.
2: Answer the questions asked. Sometimes the answer is VERY simple.
3: Tell your child that this is a topic that should only be discussed at home, with the doctor, etc. Some conversations aren't appropriate for places like school.
4: If you don't know an answer to a question, get back to the question after you've had time to research.
5: Remember this isn't a ONE time conversation. It's an ongoing discussion. You don't have to give your child all information at once, but you should always be truthful.
Talking about things like making and having babies can be triggering for some who have adopted. This is one reason the conversations aren't easy for some parents. Recognize what is difficult for you and commit to working through those things so you are ready to teach and discuss topics with your child.
*This post contains affiliate links.